Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Quote of the day on Halloween 2012

“@WEPromote: Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation. Kahlil Gibran”

These past two months (since Sept), relationships have been pulled closer as the martriarch of my husband's family, my mother-in-law (MIL) is diagnosed with cancer and the battle with the disease actually brought all family members closer together.

The one thing that is the most significant is the husband and wife, my in-laws, the couple who had been married for 40 years, who never held hands in public or kisses or even hugged or shown any public display of affection (PDA)... They have grown not only closer but more loving in these past two months. It is true that love manifests itself especially more so if you know you risk losing love.

In adversity good things rises, like a Phoenix that rises from the ashes, so shall we overcome this difficult challenge and pull through as a united family, loving and caring. We are cautiously optimistic now.

Pix below: The third bouquet of flowers/roses from my father-in-law to his beloved wife. No roses for 40 years and suddenly three bouquets in two months. Love is great, love is wonderful. :)

Monday, 29 October 2012

Quote of the Day Oct 29, 2012

Quote of the day: Don't expect anyone to understand your journey, especially when they have never walked your path.

This is a general blogpost not meant to lash out at anyone.

Some may even say, I understand what you are going through but that is like mocking because no, you don't really understand because you have not been through it so just zip it, or say I'm sorry or just say I wish you well.

Saw this shared on fb and it is worth pondering on. Yeah, they may not understand but maybe not 100%, maybe they understand some of it or a fraction? Oh well. I blog so that I can 'let it all out', so those who understand shall read this, whoever you are, thanks for reading my blog. :)

If you love reading, do check out my 'letters' under the labels menu. :)

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Third Letter to My Younger Self (Tegami reprise) アンジェラ・アキAngela Aki 手紙 ~拝啓 十五の君

I am listening to my favourite Japanese song, Tegami, google up アンジェラ・アキ Angela Aki 手紙 ~拝啓 十五の君 which tells of a story of how a 15-year-old found it hard to live on in life and wrote a letter to her future self and her future self actually replied.

Here is another letter to myself. You can read about my previous letter here. Or just click on 'letters' on the labels menu for all the letters I've written, more like open letters, I'm an open book anyway. :-)

Dear Sue (myself) who just got married in 2007,

You should still be grieving for the loss of our little one (RIP 09092007) who did not even have the chance to be born and breathe his/her first breath of life... the pain is raw, especially in the first four years, but trust me, by 2011, you can talk about it calmly without shedding a tear. The sadness is still there, but I guess we just get stronger as time passes.

I know by now, end Oct, you feel like life is ending for you, you are blaming everyone and most of all, we blamed ourselves, and lashed out at the closest person, our darling husband, bless his kind soul. He is not a man of many words and yes, he is a loving man, despite his lack of sensitivity, he will surprise us, dear Sue, yes, I never knew love has no limit, I love him now even more than when I first married him. Guess this is what love is all about, not bound by any limit?

No, we don't have a kid yet five years plus from now, the pregnancy test kit is still showing the single line of negative. Trust me, all the months of trying and disappointment is a 'training' for us to be stronger and face what lies ahead of us. What you may ask? I didn't see the answer back then but now I can tell you this:

With the many happenings in my life right now, example - this, I find that my husband and I (and generally the whole family and everyone linked to us socially), are growing by leaps and bounds especially when it comes to self-reflection, character-reflection, changes in life's outlook (thoughts and opinions) and I can sum it up with one phrase: we all learn how to be true humans. My mother-in-law taught us all that.

In the past, in healthier times, our mother-in-law would do all she could, cook, clean, care, cook, clean care, she repeats all these with a fervent desire to give the very best to her loved ones, she does not discriminate even if it is a stranger asking for a glass of water at her gate, or the last customer to arrive when she was about to pack up and go home when she was selling cakes and delicacies called "kueh" (gway), sweet stuff she made and I was told her generosity extended to the extent she literally gave away free "kueh" at the end of the day.

There is not a single thought of greed in this noble woman, not a single shred of selfishness, she is truly selfless and only live to serve others. Some more materialistic people may think this is foolish, but over the years, the short five years I have been her daughter-in-law, I began to see things from her point of view.
You don't lose anything just by being helpful and generous, instead, you gain satisfaction and you gain more by giving.

Our mother-in-law truly embraced the meaning of giving unconditionally, loving unconditionally, she found joy in serving others.

I plan to write a book on her and I have started a bit on that, starting with this blogpost, I shall take November off from work and accompany her, be by her side wherever she goes, and I shall start typing away on my laptop, I shall remember to save everything and back it up on my thumb drive just in case my laptop fail me. I shall ask her questions if I am stumped, but that won't be much, I remember almost everything, every little story, every anecdote she told me since I first called her "Auntie" in 2004, up till now, I call her "Mommy". I guess every woman who talks a lot remembers a lot too as we relate and repeat the stories to one another.

My summary is:
In the past one and a half months, coming to two months, I have learned and still learning the art of living from this admirable woman I call my mother-in-law.

She is a simple woman, some may even call her one of the simple country-folk, a typical housewife, but to everyone whose lives she touched, she is more than that! She is the epitome of the perfect woman, virtuous, God-fearing (she believes in the Goddess of Mercy and surrenders her fate to Her), generous, always putting others before Self (she has truly learned the art of mastering "Anatta", Buddhism teaching for no-self, no-ego), even in the past two months, her learning curve is pretty steep and she has actually perfected her character and started to let go a lot! I feel like she is almost a saint, my mother-in-law!

To the Sue five years ago,
I know you feel like life is at the bleakest now, especially when you yearn so much for a child and have him/her taken so suddenly away from you, it is rough on darling hubby too, but let me tell you this, if we have a cute adorable five-year-old now, we cannot do what we are doing now. We cannot grow as much as we are growing now (not growing fat, but growing up).

Darling hubby is growing up too, we are actually more mature and we are learning new things everyday, the meaning of what it truly means to be human.

It is simple, no religious incantations, no prayer, just one word: "ACCEPTANCE".

Remember how we used to ask: WHY? Why me? Why now? Why not?

Now I know why and I tell you this:

Everything happens for a reason. Whatever that happens, no matter how bad, it must be good. There is always hope in despair. Even when the going gets tough, the tough always get going. Yeah, I know, cliche but they are all TRUE!

Why are we still childless? The way I look at it, it is because we are meant to be serving this noble woman who have always put others before herself. How can we fully concentrate in caring for our beloved mother-in-law if we have a toddler or two towing along? We will feel bad if we neglect our kid(s) to care for an elderly, knowing our motherly instinct!

It is as if the jigsaw puzzle pieces are coming together and I can finally see the whole picture, mommy (yeah, we call her mommy now, we truly love her now, you know), mommy needs us to be by her side, and we are willing to be by her side and THANK GOODNESS we are childless now. It is a blessing in disguise. We are still in our early 30s, Sue, we can still try. Mommy needs us now. We shall be strong, child(ren) can wait.

It is a chance denied to many, to care for the elderly and repay all their love for us. I feel blessed, so hang in there. All will end well in the end. Have faith!

Yours lovingly,
Sue (Oct 27, 2012)

If you wish to read more, follow these in chronological order:

Since they are already published anyway, just sharing these if you have a few minutes to spare:

Read this first:

All written from my heart.




I admit I still have a lot to learn and I am still trying to improve on my manners, speech and thoughts. Sorry if I have offended anyone with my direct speech sometimes, and my hormonal emotional outbursts especially when I was younger and just newly married to the Lee family.

My reflection on mommy's illness started the second day after I found out (Dr Catherine told me at just before 5pm on Sept 5, 2012) - a snapshot of my 'journey' and what I have learned the past one month plus:

Then I started to reflect and wrote this one:

After we visited nenek in Sarawak, or when we decided to visit nenek in Sarawak:

Then I reflected on the meaning of love and caring:

On my birthday this year I wrote this:

Then hubby and I went for counselling at a Hospis (free of charge) and I was moved by this hanging on the wall:

Then after mommy told me directly she isn't afraid of death, I wrote this:

And finally my third letter above:

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Accepting Death

Death is not as morbid as some of us might think.

As a Buddhist, I reflect on death. We talk about death quite often, we even have a reflection on death and one of the three important teachings: Dukkha, Anicca, Anatta, the element of impermanence (Anicca) is reminding us humans to reflect on the impermanence in life, with life, it starts with birth, and it will surely end in death. Death is inevitable!

As Christians and other Creator-God-theological teachings will say, God gives us life and He shall take it back and we return to Him one day. I took catechism classes for six years (shorter than my own mom who went to church all the way till she was 19, she is also a Buddhist, we mother and daughter became Buddhists in 1993) and I remember the teachings. Going to church before classes on a weekly basis and praying "Our Father" the first thing before classes, making the cross sign and then end it with "Glory Be" at the end of the day before school ends. In between we gave thanks to the Lord for the food we are about to receive and then one more prayer of thanks for the food we savoured during break/recess. It is a good discipline, a discipline to be Thankful for what we have.

My mother-in-law has been warded for more than two weeks now. Her spirits are high, and she is battling cancer. No details on that but here is something worth sharing:

This morning I talked to my MIL and she said she is okay in accepting death. She knows about her own body condition.

She even said: I have no regrets. I feel blessed already. If my time is here, I am ready to go.

I stayed the night with her and saw her sleeping peacefully... as per my tweet at @suetiong. I worried for awhile then I meditated and calmed down. This woman has gone through a lot, she is a survivor even without cancer. How can a small thing like cancer hold her back? That's when I muster enough courage to ask her the next morning when we both woke up and having breakfast and she calmly replied to all my "what if" questions. It is as if she has been expecting this talk and we both acted very naturally. It felt like a sacred moment.

Then she shot me this question: Tell me, did doctor say I am dying?

I replied without missing a beat spontaneously: Mommy, everyone will die one day, it is just a matter of time. Doctor did not say you are dying, nor did she say you are not dying. With cancer, which you know already you have, it is extremely hard to say, it can be big or small, dangerous or otherwise very fast. If doctor says you are dying and you did not die, then she would be lying, if the doctor says you are not dying and you died, then we would be saying she is lying, so it is not black and white.

She kept quiet and nodded, saying it made sense.

Then we joked and talked about light-hearted matters and recalling her past happy memories.

When we were going for radiotherapy, she in wheel chair and me beside her, she told me this: "Sue, thank Goodness for you. Having you around (since the beginning) ease my fears and I am not scared when you are around."

That's enough thanks, I don't hope for anything, only a peaceful mind for her till the end. I will love her all the way till the end and beyond.

I have truly accepted the truth, and I am thankful for each passing moment, each minute that we have together, quality time. She as my mother-in-law and me as her daughter-in-law, a special bond no one can take away from us.

Love, Sue

Never give up

Saw this today and I snapped a pix of it to share. Truly meaningful!!!

Our Ray of Hope

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Air Perm 2012

In conjunction with my birthday in 2012, I decided to change my hair from straight to curly so I permed my hair.

I know I made a vow not to straighten my hair anymore this year so this is a good change I guess, haha, this is relatively maintenance free, as long as I have the mousse or the gel or whatchamacallit to keep the curls in place and make them bouncy. My hairstylist called this method 'air perm', don't ask me why, haha. I was so happy it didn't cross my mind to ask why is it called 'air'.

Anyway, hubby doesn't really like it a first but I guess that is because I have never permed my hair in my adult life. It takes some time to get used to changes.

Whatever it is, I don't care.

I'm loving it. :)

Some pix of before and after dye/colour.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Becoming a WWF Donor

I was walking into a supermarket in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, to buy something for my kitchen/pantry when I was stopped by a lady wearing a WWF badge. I have heard of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) since I was a little girl more than 20 years ago.

Within five minutes, I signed up for a monthly contribution/donation to WWF Malaysia at RM58/month. There is another option which is RM38/month but I figured if I can already contribute more than that for kids from other countries (under World Vision), I might as well save the environment and wildlife in my own country.

I signed up in good faith and to skeptics who are reading this, please reserve your skepticism and keep your doubts to yourself. I feel good doing good and I am truly glad to play my part for the nature.

Quote from the WWF booklet:
"We shan't save all we should like to, but we shall save a great deal more than if we never tried!" ~Sir Peter Scott (1909-1989), WWF Founder.

Simply Siti New Perfume - Memoire

I was traveling in Air Asia flight and an elegant packaging I knew was a perfume box caught my attention as the steward and stewardess pushed the merchandise cart past me.

It was the new Simply Siti range of perfume - EDP (Eau De Parfum). Retailing for over RM70-RM80, the three scents were only retailing for RM59 EACH only on Air Asia flights

Being an ardent perfume lover, especially EDP, I asked them which is the best seller among the three and was recommended Memoire, 50ml. I took the chance and bought it. Hubby got himself 'Aura' perfume which is only RM17 on board for 100ml.

Here are the pix of the EDP. I love the scent, it is light and 'flowery', sweet and pleasant, not too heavy and just nice for day wear yet subtle enough for dinner functions. I will definitely try it again if the price is right!

P/s- Simply Siti is a brand founded by Malaysia songbird Siti Nurhaliza.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

2012 Birthday Wish

On Oct 2, my birthday, I wish myself a pleasant day ahead and may I have a good year ahead with just the right pinch of trials and challenges as well as the sweet satisfaction of a job well done, be it a job/task in career, family or any of the roles I need to play in life.

May my loved ones and friends be blessed with good health, peace and happiness. May nothing hinder them from good, and everything negative is overcome with ease. May your days be filled with laughter and joy, may your footsteps be light and may you all eat, sleep and live happily with the lightest heart filled with joy and gratitude. I wish you all the very best.

May those who dislike (or even hate me), my 'frenemies' or 'enemies' or those who are hostile towards me, I wish you peace of mind and may your hearts find peace in the coming year. I do not condone what you say/think/do but I respect your rights as an individual. By bashing me or talking and thinking negatively you can never find peace within. I just wish to wish you inner peace from the bottom of my heart.

With each year that I age, I resolve to only better myself and practice kindness and positivity in my life. May I have the strength and perseverance to achieve success with minimal harm or damage/inconvenience to others and may I have the resolve to overcome all things negative which I hope will turn into something positive at the end of the day.

May 2012 (the last quarter) be a good one for everyone and 2013 be an even better year. As corny as it sounds, I wish for world peace. Peace begins at home. Peace - That is my fervent peace.

I just blogged to say... I love you all (radiating the love/'metta' to all). Happy birthday, Sue. Happy birthday to me. *Peace*

Photos copyright reserved, Taken 3 days before my 2012 birthday. I am blessed to be so loved by my own mom and hubby's mom.

The first year I did not wish for a baby, I got one the following year.